Try this exercise. As you read the following, I want you to use your imagination and create a mental image of yourself as clearly as possible in your mind, as if you’re living the experience as you read it.
I want you to imagine it’s Sunday night, you’ve had a fun, but incredibly busy weekend, and an equally incredibly busy week ahead, filled with big project deadlines and important client meetings, as well a few social functions you’ve committed to attend.
The thought of upcoming week sparks some excitement in you. There’s a lot on your plate, but you feel supremely confident and inspired. Tired, yet relaxed, you check your schedule for Monday, pack your bag and your lunch, and get ready for bed. At 10:30pm you lay down to in bed. Within minutes, you are soundly asleep.
Your alarm goes off at 6am and you wake up easily, feeling refreshed.
You go through your morning routine, then it’s off to the gym for a 7am workout.
Your mind is clear and body feels rested and energized. This makes for a terrific distraction-free workout.
You’re at your desk before 9am and get right into the day’s workload. You’re efficient and organized. Certain things don’t go as expected, but calm and relaxed, you adapt and create flexible solutions for any challenges that arise. With each successful interaction with a demand, you feel a swell of happiness and your confidence grows.
You’re making good choices, both professionally and personally, as deftly bypass the piles of holiday cookies and candies in the office pantry.
You leave for the day with a little pang of pride given how well you faced some of the unexpected obstacles that surfaced.
You stop at home briefly, freshen-up and change. You take a few minutes for yourself, before heading out again. You have a client dinner that you’ve been looking forward to, as you really like both the client and the restaurant they picked.
You go out to an entertaining, yet productive, meal, where you continue to make good professional and personal decisions, in both what you choose to eat and drink, as well as you navigate the dinner’s discussion. Your client tells you how impressed they’ve been with your work and how they like to hire you for some more big projects.
You arrive home right before 10pm feeling tired, yet completely fulfilled. You’re in bed by 10:30pm, feeling totally at ease. Sleep comes quickly within a few minutes.
Like the previous day, your alarm goes off at 6am and you wake up easily, feeling fully rested. It’s another big day, but you’re calm and as confident as ever.
How did you feel going through that exercise? If this is similar to how your life looks and feels now, that’s excellent. However, for most of us, this ideal picture, may be quite different than our current reality.
The really great news is that change is possible.
I’ve worked with a number of high performers, who swear by guided visualizations like the one I presented above. They certainly work and I encourage you to use these positive mental rehearsals. With time and consistency, they can condition our responses when we’re out in the field of life.
But unfortunately, our bodies do not respond to verbal mental language nearly as well they respond to chemical language, the language of hormones and neurotransmitters.
When we’re stressed and overwhelmed, our physiology speaks one language through chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline.
When we’re happy and relaxed, our bodies speak a different language with chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and beta endorphins.
While practicing Access Meditation, your body settles automatically and spontaneously into a deep state of rest (a 20 minute meditation feel like one to two hours of sleep). This happens effortlessly, without any focus or concentration or attempting to suppress thoughts.
During this experience, the language of the body changes. Stress chemicals turn off and happy/relaxed chemicals turn on. The result is that we actually feel and perform better immediately.
To change the way you experience life using guided visualization alone is like starting a fire by rubbing two sticks together. It takes a lot of time and work. When you learn Access Meditation, creating positive change is more like throwing a lit matchstick on a pile of kerosene soaked logs. Change comes exponentially faster and easier.
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